Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Ruth Chamangwana
Six months at my site has been a rollercoaster; thrilling, stressful, but overall enlightening. I love moving around in my community, visiting community members, going to the lake, going to church, and going to the market. In all these trips, there are five things that I carry with me. These things go everywhere I go; they are my little best friends.
1) Mobile phone. My cell phone is my ultimate best friend. Apart from using it as a communication tool, it is my source of entertainment using the social media apps that I have. My community has awesome network reception, and this makes it easy to communicate with friends and receive communication from the CorpsAfrica staff. Happiness!
2) Umbrella. My community is literally the warm heart of Malawi. My community members are funny, but the temperatures are ridiculously high most times. Because of the scorching heat, an umbrella is always important to block the sun and make my walk through the community bearable and fun.
3) Chitenje (a Malawi wrap). Now that I am part of my community, it is paramount that I dress modestly and in line with the Malawian culture. A chitenje shows that a traditional woman has self-respect and dignity. If I am not wearing my chitenje, I always remember to pack it in my bag and take it on my trip.
4) Bottle of water. Unless you want to get a headache from dehydration caused by the scorching heat, travelling with a bottle of water is a necessity. I try my best to be as hydrated as possible which helps me prevent unnecessary health issues.
5) Smile. My community is arguably the warm heart of Malawi because of the high temperatures and the warm greetings that my community members give each other. It is no surprise that I move everywhere with my smile. Nothing beats a beautiful smile and a warm greeting as one walks around with beads of sweat on the forehead in my beautiful community.